Rolls-Royce to go hybrid

AFP
First Published: 16:37 IST(12/3/2014)
Last Updated: 17:29 IST(12/3/2014)
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The head of the luxury car maker has confirmed that using batteries will soon be the only way to keep offering clients 12-cylinder engines as environmental regulations continue to increase.

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Speaking to Auto Express during the Geneva Motor Show, Rolls-Royce's CEO, Torsten Müller-Otvos, described hybrid technology as "essential in two years, maybe not from customer demand but through legal regulation on emissions," if the car company wants to continue using V12 powerplants.

Rolls-Royce has already toyed with an all-electric version of its Phantom flagship, the 100EX, but it failed to excite any of the brand's existing clients and so never went any further than the prototype stage.

"A Rolls-Royce cannot come with any kind of compromise, and both the recharging times and the range were not acceptable for our buyers -- but with hybrid technology that is no longer a problem," Müller-Otvos is quoted as saying.

Indeed to see how far hybrids have come since the original Honda Insight and mark I Toyota Prius, simply stop by the Ferrari, Porsche or McLaren stands at this year's event.

Each car company is showcasing how backing up a petrol engine with an electric motor doesn't just have to be about saving fuel or cutting CO2 emissions. Hybrid technology can also be used to make a car even faster and more powerful, essentially bringing new levels of performance.

In a separate interview with MotorTrend also conducted at Geneva, Tobias Moers, head of AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, confirmed that retaining the V12 engine was about not offering customers a compromized product and that the company will continue to build them: "As long as there are customers. Some people like the extra sophistication. Maybe the next-generation V-12 needs a plug-in hybrid? Who knows?"

Moers also let it slip during the interview that as well as maintaining V12s, the company has a new V8 engine coming and a new sportscar designed to challenge the Porsche 911, both of which will be making their debuts at the New York International Auto Show in April.


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